Archive for the ‘ Interview ’ Category

Illmatic Revisted: Interview With Brian Katz, Director of Nas’ “Represent” Video


Brian Katz hit the jackpot. Katz is a native New Yorker now working at a marketing agency in Los Angeles with no experience making music videos, but a contest by hip hop culture magazine Mass Appeal (for which Nas is listed as an associate publisher) gave Katz a shot at directing the latest visuals from Queensbridge’s own Nas, an artist Katz has been following since his own New York days as a teen two decades ago. To make it even sweeter, the contest called for treatments for a video for “Represent” off of Esco’s classic 1994 debut effort, Illmatic, with Nas himself picking a winner. 

The resulting product features Nas, more than 20 years older than the youthful Nasir Jones rapping on the track, sitting on a couch and smoking a cigar as film of a 1920s silent movie flashes around him, with shots of a young Mr. Jones interspersed throughout. Speaking from coast to coast, I talked on the phone with Katz to chop it up about the once-in-a-lifetime experience creating the video.

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Sure Shot: Photo Rob Captures Hip Hop History


Robert Adam Mayer, better known as Photo Rob, is a New York-based photographer who while not limiting his work to hip hop, has become a staple in the hip hop community. He’s photographed the likes of Rakim, Kool Herc, Q Tip, Questlove, Busta Rhymes and more either on stage or in photoshoots, and has even recently had his work featured in a museum. Find out how he moved his way into the business and stays on top of his game.


Sure Shot: J57 on The Art of Instagram & Upcoming Music (2words The Top Exclusive)

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J57 is heavy on Instagram. The Brown Bag AllStars emcee/ producer is a busy man touring, hitting up studios around the world, and working on Rap Is Outta Control on Sirius Radio XM with DJ Premier, DJ Eclipse and Torae. In between or as he’s in the process of checking off each task, J57 often gets artsy and captures his surroundings.

While he admits he’s not a professional photographer, with Instagram he’s one of the most active and creative artists in hip hop with the camera. So here, exclusively at 2words The Top, @j57bbas gave us insight into the art of Instagram and his own journey through pictures.

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Angel Davanport: Brand New “Outsiders” Music Video + Exclusive Interview


“I am a ball of emotions. I am very strong. I am very dynamic. I am literally like a hurricane.” 

The above statement is outgoing and up-and-coming rapper/singer Angel Davanport’s answer to my request to simply describe herself and her big personality. I say simply because after a half-hour journeying through her Soundcloud page and another half-hour speaking with her on the phone, it’s clear that this 22-year-old Chicago native, with five years of slam poetry experience under her belt, has many sides to her personality.

After exhibiting her talents on her mentor Tech N9ne’s album Something Else, with a feature on “Priorities” alongside seasoned emcee The Game, Davanport makes a more formal introduction with “Outsiders,” which is her first ever music video. “Outsiders” serves as a single off of her upcoming debut project, A Tribute To The Classics. Just days after the video shoot, I talked with Davanport about connecting with Tech N9ne, her wide range of musical influences, and her upcoming freshman project.

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Summer Madness: The Audible Doctor Talks “The Summer Tape”, Sampling, Cassettes & Working With Fredro Starr


The Audible Doctor is the versatile emcee/ producer of the Brown Bag Allstars collective out of Brooklyn, NY. Last month the Wisconsin native, also known for producing Joell Ortiz’s “Battle Cry,” put out an impressive 7-track EP that features nothing but soul-sampling production from The Audible Doctor, as well as rhymes from himself and guests Guilty Simpson, Oddisee, Edo G and more. The Summer Tape serves as the second offering in a four-part series and the follow up to January’s The Winter Tape. I recently chopped it up with The Audible Doctor about his latest project and others he has in the making, sampling, his journey to New York, and much more.

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Photo Finish: Photographer FISDJ Talks Shooting Rapsody’s “She Got Game” Cover, Camera Phones & More


On Tuesday, Rapsody releases her highly anticipated DJ Drama-hosted She Got Game mixtape, and if you check it out, the first thing you’ll see is the work of Sammer Abdel-Khalek a.k.a FISDJ. He’s the photographer who snapped Ms. Evans sitting atop the 10-foot high rim for the mixtape cover, and has become an integral part of the North Carolina hip hop scene from behind the lens. 2words The Top caught up with FISDJ to talk about working on the She Got Game cover, other projects he’s taken on throughout the years and throughout the globe, and the profound story of how he chose the name FISDJ.

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Sharp Shooter: Exclusive Interview With Music Video Director Aaron Vazquez a.k.a. aaronisnotcool


If you’ve seen videos from Blu, ScienZe, Homeboy Sandman, Sene or YC The Cynic during the past two years, you’ve probably witnessed a shooting by Aaron Vazquez a.k.a. aaronisnotcool, who directs and shoots his videos. Though he only started exploring the video function on his camera a little more than three years ago, the former University of Texas student, and as of a year ago, New York transplant, has made his mark on the underground hip hop scene with clean visuals and a sense of creativity. On a day where Vazquez’s errands included buying masks for an upcoming Denitia & Sene music video, I caught with the 25-year-old director to talk about his creative process and the videos he did and didn’t make. Of course his work is displayed throughout for your viewing pleasure.

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Director’s Cut: Drew Rosensweig Breaks Down Soul Khan’s “Morning Alone” Video


Soul Khan’s latest video, for “Morning Alone” off of the Psalm EP is a devoid of the typical hanging on the block, walking around town, working in the studio, or partying with women and money storylines present in hip hop videos, so it might be a little difficult to follow. Shoot, even Soul Khan himself is absent from the video. So we went and got director Drew Rosensweig to explain his concept and some of the symbolism present in the “Morning Alone” visuals, and while he notes that he thinks everyone should be able to have their own interpretation, below is what he had to say.

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